Phenol Prices, markets & analysis
For those looking to keep abreast of the global Phenol market, our independent, unbiased pricing information, news and market analysis is an invaluable resource.
Whether you buy or sell Phenol or related products, you need to know about the prices and the factors driving the prices in the global Phenol market as they happen. Our network of price reporters throughout Asia, Europe and the US provide key local insights. We collate this intelligence into daily and weekly price reports, ensuring you have the up-to-date information you need at all times.
Phenol Overview Transcript
The global phenol market is structurally short and will remain so until new capacities starts to come on stream in Asia over the next few years.
Demand for phenol derivatives is set to remain steady in Europe, Asia and the US. This is because demand in downstream markets such as bisphenol A, caprolactam, adipic acid and phenolic resins is likely to remain subdued in the near term.
Global economic uncertainty and slow growth in developed markets will play their parts to aid stability. There is some concern over the supply of cumene, an upstream chemical, which may itself become short, tightening supply.
The other challenges facing the market for phenol are sharp fluctuations in the benzene price which can be hard to pass on to consumers in downstream markets where prices are negotiated rather than set on a formula basis.
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Phenol news and market information products from ICIS
We offer the following regional Phenol analysis and news coverage to keep you informed of factors and developments affecting prices in the Phenol marketplace.
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Phenol: Market overview
During the mid-May to mid-August period, the phenol acetone contract price range mirrored price developments in major feedstock benzene. During this time, the benzene contract price remained well above €900/tonne FOB (free on board) NWE (northwest Europe), which buyers say contributed to a drop in demand.
Since a large proportion of phenol and its derivative ends up in the automotive and construction sectors – both of which have been heavily weighed down by weak macroeconomic conditions – demand remained weak during the three-month period.
The extended winter added to the woes in the construction sector, particularly for the resins markets.
With China becoming a self-sufficient region in terms of phenol production and derivative manufacturing, this also played a part of the demise of demand in Europe, as such export opportunities were scare.
Because major buyers were more than comfortably covered with contract volumes, opportunities to conclude spot business were minimal.
Spot prices were assessed around the benzene contract price plus €200/tonne on an FD (free delivered) basis.
Updated to mid-August 2013
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Phenol occurs as colourless to yellow crystals, with a characteristic carbolic odour which turns pink on exposure to light and air. It is strongly hydroscopic, liquefying in moist air. It is moderately dissolvable in water, but very soluble in ether, methyl and ethyl alcohol, carbon tetrachloride, acetic acid, glycerol, benzene and chlorinated hydrocarbons. The solution in water is a weak acid.
The main chemical intermediates and derivatives of phenol are bisphenol-A (BPA) used to make polycarbonate (PC) and epoxy resins, phenolic resins, caprolactam, alkylphenols, aniline and adipic acid. The largest market for phenol is BPA followed by phenolic resins.
Cumene-based technology is the dominant process to produce phenol. Here, benzene and propylene are reacted to form cumene, which is oxidised to the hydroperoxide, followed by acid-catalysed cleavage to yield phenol and acetone.